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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

Is Your Crisis Coming? Anthropology Can Help You Change To Avoid It.

On May 16, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Business Anthropology, corporate anthropologist, anthropology


In March of this year, 2019, I made a presentation to the Society for Applied Anthropology entitled "Anthropology Applications for Business." It was a fantastic experience and gave me the opportunity to talk about my two favorite topics—anthropology and business—and share how we at SAMC apply anthropology to our corporate, business, healthcare and non-profit clients. 

I'll summarize the key points here but you can watch and listen to the presentation in its entirety by clicking on the image below.

Change creates pain in the brain

Companies come to us when they are in a crisis or see one coming. In fact, we've built our business around helping stalled organizations change. As we know from the neurosciences, our brains hate change, they fight it. That's why at SAMC, we've developed an anthropological approach which enables us to evaluate how organizations operate today (obstinate brains and all) so we can better help them change for the future. 

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What Makes Arizona State University the Most Innovative College in the US?

On May 1, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andi and Andy Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Andrea Simon, corporate anthropologist, Higher Education

At Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), we have been working with a wide range of colleges on Blue Ocean Strategy®, encouraging long-established institutions to step back and look at themselves with fresh eyes.

Why must they do this, and why now? Because times are changing. Colleges, universities, trade schools and all other educational institutions are competing for a smaller and smaller base of high school graduates seeking a college education. In fact, traditional high school graduates now represent only 20% of college student bodies, with the other 80% filled by post-traditional students from all walks of life.

The challenge in higher education: to create innovative solutions that better match the needs of students

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Ready To Seize Opportunities You've Been Missing?

On Apr 9, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Business Anthropology, corporate anthropologist, anthropology

As many of you know, two things I love talking about are change and anthropology, so it was great fun to be interviewed by Acquisition International recently because I got to talk about both! (You can read the article here.)

The interview focused on how anthropology, when applied to business, can successfully drive change and spur growth by showing organizations how to "see, feel and think" with fresh eyes. By using the tools and methods of observational anthropology, companies are suddenly able to "see" opportunities they may have missed, the proverbial acres of diamonds that are all around them, waiting to be seized upon.

What about you? Are you missing opportunities right in front of you?

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Time to Add Gratitude to Your Life—And Your Company's Culture!

On Feb 14, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andi and Andy Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Andrea Simon, corporate anthropologist, Managing change, Corporate Culture, culture, business culture, gratitude


 
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." John F. Kennedy

This time of year is when we at SAMC reflect on the past and prepare for the future. It is also a time to express our appreciation and gratitude for successes, as well as what we have tried and may not have achieved. 

Reflecting on gratitude and expressing it is as essential to people's personal lives as it is to their businesses and careers. In fact, those who focus on expressing their gratitude tell us that it repays them in spades. So why don't we all do it?

Gratitude: what does that really mean? 

While the terms gratitude and appreciation may seem interchangeable, there are actually some subtle differences. While appreciation is a way of recognizing a job well done, gratitude is more personal. It expresses thanks for a benefit one has received.  

As we work with companies and not-for-profits, we often find that people seem to have a hard time saying a simple "thank you" to someone. We're not talking about an award or special recognition for completing a task, just a simple "Hey, thanks for doing that so well. I truly appreciate it." 

It's rare to hear business leaders say how grateful they are for their team, their clients or their successful company. Why is this?

There's one exception: a long-term client of ours whom we just adore, in large part because they are always expressing their gratitude to us (their consultants), their staff and their clients. As we receive their thanks and hear the same from their staff, we believe that their success is mainly due to this feeling of and consistent expression of gratitude. 

Today's blog is about this gift of gratitude: what is it, why you and your company should embrace it, and how it will make you and those around you smile and shine. Most of all, it is about how to build an organizational culture that goes beyond the functional things that have to be done and creates an entirely new perspective on the people getting it done. Along the way, it also shines a light on how company culture really matters. 

Why should we worry about appreciating others and expressing our gratefulness or gratitude?

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Hate Change? Anthropology Can Make You and Your People Love It!

On Nov 23, 2018 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, corporate anthropologist, business change

I often get calls from HR directors who say, "Help! I have a new CEO and he wants me to change the culture." And so I ask, "What's the problem?" And the HR person will say, "I don't really know what our culture is." And my answer to that is, "Well, what would the new CEO like it to become?" And they’ll say, "I'm not sure, but it isn't working so a new culture is what we need." Typically, they just want something different but they don't really know where they're going or how to get there. And they're not alone.

Many clients come to us because the times are changing and they know they have to adapt but they don't know how.

Change is something people hate. The brain hates it. The culture hates it. Organizations hate it. But as corporate anthropologists, we are convinced that what works—yes, really works—to successfully change an organization are the methods, tools and techniques of anthropology

Over and over again, we find that high-performing organizations thrive when they unleash the talent, passion and potential of their people. That has everything to do with building a better culture, and changing a culture for the better is what corporate anthropology is all about. 

To explain the kind of work we do at SAMC to help organizations change, I recently produced this webinar. It will help you understand the pain and challenges of change and why we just hate to do it. Then it will take you through the building blocks needed to change people. I'll touch on a few key concepts here in this blog but to get the full story, you really need to watch the webinar. Just click on the graphic below.
To read the full transcript of the webinar, click here.

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Change Might Be Exactly What Your Organization Needs To Be Successful

On Nov 15, 2018 6:34:51 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, corporate anthropologist, business change

"Continuing to do what’s working is easy. What’s harder is to stop doing the things that aren’t working."

My thoughts exactly. In fact, in a recent Forbes article about how first-time CMOs need to focus on what to keep doing, start doing and sometimes more importantly, stop doing, I'm referenced as saying that just like individuals, fear, habit and hope can keep companies (even the most successful ones) from evolving. 

The article then mentions a previous Forbes blog of mine, "Why We're So Afraid of Change -- And Why That Holds Businesses Back," in which I discuss how so many businesses we work with at SAMC find themselves stuck, experiencing zero growth. The reason? (It's obvious to us but they can't see it.) In the midst of massive change all around them, they insist on using the same outmoded tactics to run their companies while wishing for the old world order to return. Good luck with that.

Beyond fearing change itself, many companies fail to see how the business environment itself is shifting.

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Entrepreneurs Do Customer Research Through Corporate Anthropology

On Oct 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Business Anthropology, corporate anthropologist, Corporate Anthropology, anthropology

Is your company developing a new product or service? Are you planning a product launch? Do you want a better understanding of customer behavior and needs? Finally, are there major pain points which your product or service needs to solve?

Every successful entrepreneur knows that to grow your startup into a thriving business, you need to understand your customer. Easier said than done...particularly when you're about to introduce a new product or service into the market and compiling a group of statistics isn’t an option. That’s when the smartest course of action is to rely on corporate anthropology.

As an entrepreneur building a business, you can gain a crucial competitive advantage by using the methods and techniques of anthropology to help you tap into the behavioral patterns of your consumers. From a customer's first encounter with your product to the purchase stage to their return visit, anthropology enables you to get a better grip on how individuals interact with your brand.

As a result, you'll be able to successfully develop a product offer and a customer experience that meet consumers' demands and solve their challenges. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here are a few examples of how to successfully apply anthropology to your business.

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Hire Anthropologists! It Might Be Your Smartest Business Move

On Oct 13, 2018 7:27:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, corporate anthropologist, Corporate Anthropology, anthropology, business change management, business leadership

Recently I was interviewed by INSIDE Public Accounting on the business applications of corporate anthropology. I will be speaking at IPA's 2018 PRIME Symposium conference, so this interview served as a kind of sneak peek into what I will focus on in the culture change workshop I'll be conducting. (You can read the entire interview here.)

My focus was on the importance of observational research to better understand why people behave the way they do, especially when interacting with a product or service. By observing behaviors, anthropologists are trained to see things people do not always know they are doing. These observations then lead to all types of insights, changes to processes, modifications to services, and even innovations.

Equally important was how these "new" ideas and insights help organizations rethink what they are doing. Often, they can better hone in on their targets because now they have a deeper understanding of their own "ways of doing things" and how well they align (or don't align) with their customers' needs.

Since we know that change is painful, observing with fresh eyes how something is being done can often enable people to better see ways to change those habits. Pretty amazing insights emerge from a little anthropology!

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How Blockchain is Transforming Business, Today!

On Oct 11, 2018 9:16:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, Culture Change, corporate anthropologist, blockchain, technological innovation, block chain

Blockchain technology is continuously improving and developing, and it’s here to stay. It might have seen its first application with the advent of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but its real potential lies in its ability to transform the business landscape as we know it.

What's Blockchain, You Ask?

Basically, blockchain is a digital ledger that currently is used to track, record and store transactions on blocks. When applied to business, these same blocks of data have the potential to perform any type of sale, goods exchange, contract, payment, monitoring or recording.

As this technology becomes fine-tuned over the coming decade, companies will start to integrate blockchain more and more into their processes and business relationships. And with so much potential on the horizon, it’s worth taking a look at how exactly blockchain technology can transform business.

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Owners Of Family Businesses Better Have A Good Succession Plan

On Oct 26, 2017 8:45:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Family Firms, Culture Change, corporate anthropologist

Did you know that family-owned firms account for 66% of businesses around the world yet only 16% of them have succession plans? That's a scary thought. 

In the U.S. alone, family firms comprise 80%-90% of all business enterprises, generating 64% of the GNP and employing 62% of the workforce. Clearly, family firms are incredibly important to the global economy, which is why the issue of succession should be approached very intentionally to ensure the ongoing health of these businesses, as I write in a recent article for Daily News.

As a corporate anthropologist, a culture change expert and a daughter raised in a family business, I have a particularly strong interest in helping family firms successfully prepare for their succession.

If you're starting to think about the future of your family business, consider these six steps as you prepare to hand over the reins to the next generation (abridged version...read the full article here).
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